Move ‘Beyond the Blues’ with Peter Case

by Sister Julie Ann on February 1, 2010

petecase.jpgAmid important conscious-raising causes and significant celebrations during the month of February, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity offer singer-songwriter-author-guitarist Peter Case’s truth-seeking Beyond the Blues.  

About Peter Case

Ever since he grabbed on to rock’s roots as a teenaged street singer, Peter used his guitar to tell it as he sees it reported from the margins and outskirts of society for 30 years. Eventually working his way up, after countless nights of roadwork, Case has met not only the ghosts of a thousand truck drivers but plenty of real people, from Mississippi to Montana who appreciate a true song when they hear one, folks who treasure the words of a writer who speaks truth and directly to their dashed hopes, deferred dreams and the promise of a some bright morning on the horizon. Read his new book As Far As You Can Get Without a Passport.

Debuting in 1986 with a T-Bone Burnett-produced solo album (featuring contributions from Ry Cooder, David Hidalgo and Jim Keltner) he earned a Grammy nomination for its songs detailing the failure of the American Dream. Set to a tribal folk percussive blend of blues, country and rock’n’roll, echoes of its theme and sound run through his entire songbook.

stjude__sl500_aa240_.jpgOver the next two decades he would release the highly acclaimed and influential the man with the Blue post-modern fragmented neo-traditionalist Guitar, the dreamscape Torn Again and the rock solid Case classics Full Service No Waiting and Flying Saucer Blues. His own label, Travellin’ Light, released two beloved collections of stripped-down roots music: Peter Case Sings Like Hell and Thank You St. Jude.   The 21st Century has seen the psycho-Delhi-blues of Beeline, and 2004’s politically motivated tracks, Wake up Call and My Generation’s Golden Handcuff Blues, compiled on his best of the Vanguard years set, Who’s Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile.  The 2007 Yep Roc Records release, Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John, earned Case another Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional Folk Album category.  Sleepy John is Case at his most direct:  a straight shot from the frontlines of our times, delivered by one man, a guitar (and a handful of friends).

Peter’s Comment:

Vinyl records playing in the sunrise or late at night on teenage apartment phonographs, also heard on the sacred Sunday evening ‘Folkscene’ broadcast that’s what this music started as, for me: a key to the highway, an opening of the doors on the world. It’s a sound that left my heart room to grow and a connection from today’s world to a past that’s vanished, but never that far away.

Lyrics: Beyond the Blues 

The old man on the corner, he’s singing my life
He’s playing guitar with a frosty old knife
And each line that he sings rhymes with the truth
And the promise of something beyond the blues, beyond the blues

Now you and me darling took the long way around
Across the wide open country, past the heart attack town
We hit the fork in the road where we all have to choose
Between darkness and light, beyond the blues

Beyond the blues, beyond the shadows, and the rain
Beyond the darkness beyond the pain
When you know in your heart there’s no way out but through’
Take a walk with me darlin’ beyond the blues

That old man on the corner he’s been gone for years
His guitar and his knife are all rusty with tears
But there is a song that he gave us that we’ll never have to lose
About another life waiting beyond the blues
Beyond the blues, beyond the shadows, and the rain
Beyond the darkness, beyond the pain
When you know in your heart there’s no way out but through’
Take a walk with me darlin’ beyond the blues, Beyond the blues
Love is the road beyond the blues

Websites: http://www.petercase.comMy Space: http://www.myspace.com/petercase   Any comments?

24 thoughts on “Move ‘Beyond the Blues’ with Peter Case”

  1. In our constant prayer for the people of Haiti and those reaching out to them in so many ways I find Peter’s song as a place to go for HOPE.

    The lines, Between darkness and light, beyond the blues Beyond the blues, beyond the shadows, beyond the rain
    Beyond the darkness and all the pain…

    echo Jesus’ message of his life, death, and resurrection. There is hope that will go beyond the darkess and pain so many are experiencing right now. The sign of the resurrection is found in those who are giving compassionate service.

    Thanks to Peter for sharing this inspiring song with us at this time.

  2. Mark Feldbush says:

    Thanks for shining the light on Peter Case’s music. I am a long time fan and have been deeply moved by this song.

    Particularly the second part of the chorus which Peter sings differently than the printed lyrics above.

    “Beyond the blues, beyond the shadows, beyond the rain
    Beyond the darkness and all the pain
    When you know in your heart there’s no way out but through’
    Take a walk with me darlin’ Beyond the blues”

    “When there’s no way out but through…” This line has helped me in my ministry as a hospital chaplain. So often people wonder why God puts them through so much pain.

    But the Christian faith is not about a life of ease here and now. Jesus says in this life the faithful will endure much suffering… But he does promise to walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death as the Good Shepherd who guides and protects us. He is the one who reminds us of the the goodness and mercy we will find forever in the house of the Lord forever…Beyond The Blues…

  3. Roland Flasch says:

    While listening to this song, I was soothed and reminded that love is the only thing that really matters. When you find something or someone to love, don’t let go because they can show you what it is like to live beyond your troubles and your pain. Its a great reminder that God’s love for us is always there and that after anything that happens, He always loves us. After all, the God who can choose to do absolutely anything, chooses to love us. What more do we really need.

  4. Alex R. Weiland says:

    I liked the music, I found the words to be moving and thought provoking, I also enjoyed his voice.

  5. Mark, your comments are a welcome addition. Roland and Alex, thanks for taking the time to share your first impressions of Peter’s song. Comments like these make Franciscanized World what is it is ‘called to be’-a place of meaningful connection with other good people.

  6. Richard says:

    The song reminds me to focus on the positive things and not the negative.

  7. Zong Cha Vang says:

    The thought of where I am right now with my belief; I am at the fork in the road and I have a tough decision ahead of me. I don’t know which to choose and I am troubled and worried about what awaits me at the end.

    This song tells me I am beyond the blue because I don’t know what to do.

  8. Shannon Connors says:

    The man in the song made me think of the people in our lives who touch and change us even if they are no longer in our lives.

    Music and song lyrics, like this, help me understand things better and often speak deeply to me.

  9. Alex Rausch says:

    This song reminds me of my struggle with depression. God tells me through music that there’s hope and a way out.

  10. Thanks, Richard, Shannon, Zong and Alex, for the depth of your listening to Peter’s song. Your personal sharing witnesses not only to the truth of the lyrics, but your own living of an honest life.

  11. Kelly VanBeek says:

    My favorite part of the song was in reference to the fork in the road and choosing which path to take. We are often faced with situations where we feel the only option is to be sad about the circumstances. God reminds us that we have the choice between darkness and light, and that no matter the situation, His presence helps us to go toward the light. God promises us something “beyond the blues.” We have to trust that our faith will help us reach that point.

  12. Maureen Hennigan says:

    Sometimes throughout life we are trapped in our sorrows and pain. We feel alone and unheard or unseen. But our pain is known, Jesus felt this pain, this sorrow that we feel. He knows the difficulties we encounter in our daily lives. Who better to take a walk with when we are in sorrow than Jesus himself?

  13. stacy platt says:

    Firt of all this was a great song! It was very relaxing and soothing. The part that stuck with me the most was the “We hit the fork in the road where we all have to choose
    Between darkness and light, beyond the blues
    Beyond the blues, beyond the shadows, and the rain
    Beyond the darkness beyond the pain
    When you know in your heart there’s no way out but through’
    Take a walk with me darlin’ beyond the blues”
    This is something that I think we all come to many times in our lifes. The road that has the fork in it between good and evil. Either a walk with the Lord or a walk full of emptiness, sadness, and the blues. I think that in chosing the path with the Lord one discovers that there truly is way more beyond the pain and the darnkness that we all feel at times. The Lord brings light to us and gives us a life full of love.
    just as it ends beyond the blues love is the road. Jesus loves us, we just need to remember to take and puch each day in his hands fully.

  14. Kristin says:

    I loved this song. The line that really struck me was “When you know in your heart there’s no way out but through”…I found it to be very inspiring and comforting.

  15. Jessica Ciatti says:

    I thought this song was very interesting. I really enjoyed his voice and the guitar in this song, and I thought that the message was also inspiring. If I hadn’s seen the lyrics, I’m not sure that I would have know it was necessarily a Christian song, but when you look at the lyrics, all of the subtle words and phrases stand out so well. I was touched by this song and I like how the line “Love is the road” is in there. I believe love is such a powerful emotion and such a strong way to touch people, and we are constantly feeling God’s love and that’s the way for us to move “Beyond the Blues”.

  16. Melissa Taylor says:

    This is a wonderful song! It is very inspiring to me!

  17. Cate Donze says:

    I really liked the song lyrics. Although I wasn’t particularly in love with his voice, I really liked the warm tone of the song. It sounded much more positive and uplifting when he did it than if someone else were to sing it.

  18. If these comments don’t want to make you listen to Peter’s song again and again. For a song with the title–Beyong the Blues–it really has little focus on ‘blues’. Thanks,Cate, Melissa, Jessica, Kristin, Stacy, Maureen and Kelly for your positive, uplifting comments.

  19. “We hit the fork in the road where we all have to choose
    Between darkness and light, beyond the blues”

    These words sent me to a scripture passage:

    “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deut. 30:19-20)

    We are never without choices. To choose joy, light, and trust in God is to choose life and blessing. To choose darkness, doubt, confusion is to choose interior death, a curse to our happiness.

    Looks like this song has sparked much reflection. Thank you for it!

  20. Sister Sean Marie says:

    I enjoyed this song very much. How true it is that we often experience that there is no way out but through a situation. Life is full of forks in the road but choosing the path of unselfish love leads to joy and hope for the future. Good comments from our blog readers. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Sister Sean Marie says:

    This Sunday religious were asked to reconsecrate themselves to the Lord. As I did so, I couldn’t help but look back on the fork in the road that was in my path in 1960. I was 21, a college graduate, had a teaching job, apartment, car, friends, travel opportunities, and a wide, wide world that was flashing all the promises of happiness. However, thoughts of becoming a religious had entered my mind during elementary school and high school. When I was a sophomore in college, I told my parents about my desire to become a religious. Now that was a stone wall in capital letters. They were vehemently against any thought of it. So I continued my education and the thoughts of a religious vocation flittered in and out of my thinking. The fork…..yes, the fork was a reality. Choose religious life and know that it would injure family relationships or choose to follow the expectations of parents for your life. No one knows the outcome of the choice when at the road’s fork. It takes alot of courage, trust, and endurance to make the choice and persevere. This is true in choosing marriage, single life, or religious life. I wish I could say that it has a story book ending. It doesn’t…but for me it brought peace, joy, and a great love for the One I chose to follow and a love for my beautiful community of sisters. I would choose the same fork in the road for I know with all my heart that in carrying out God’s will, the grace is always there to lead us into light. Take a good look at the words in this song….it holds alot of hope for the future…”there is no way out but through.”

  22. Having had the opportunity and grace to have shared community life with Sister Sean Marie I can testify to the “peace, joy and great love” of Sister Sean Marie.

    I was most impressed with you, Sister Sean Marie, never giving up on the students/people most difficult to teach and reach. You showed me the “way out is through” by LIVING it each day.

    I also like that you said your call did not have a “story book ending”. Romanticizing religious life doesn’t give a true picture. It is hard work and deep joy… as is anything worthwhile.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  23. Lindsey says:

    This song reminded me of part of a quote from Pope John Paul II, about the heart being the place of encounter & where we choose life or death. It’s easy to get caught up in the noise and distractions, & often it’s hard to not focus on that…but I think our hearts often sing the same song. The call to look ‘beyong the blues’ in our lives and our hearts, to be able to see and choose Christ.

  24. Lindsey, thanks for the comment on Peter’s song. I would agree…to choose Christ is to choose life knowing Christ is there with us ‘through’ it all. Peace and all good.

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